“These national findings demonstrate the critical need to ensure that equity is a part of all efforts to ensure information and access to services for women. Our findings reveal that Hispanic and Black women are not getting the information they need for their health,” said Jane L. Delgado, PhD, MS, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (the Alliance), the nation’s leading Hispanic health advocacy group.
“This new study demonstrates the importance in giving all women information that they can use in as many platforms as possible. No one source of information is sufficient. We need to recognize the importance of expanding information about Pap tests, HPV and Cervical cancer risk,” concluded Dr. Delgado.
Cervical cancer is the only gynecological cancer for which there is a screening test — the Pap test. Nevertheless, Black and Hispanic women continue to have the highest incidence rates of cervical cancer1 and the highest age adjusted mortality rates (3.2 and 2.4 per 100,000 respectively) for cervical cancer.2 A recent national study by the Healthy Americas Foundation and the Alliance found that a larger proportion of Hispanic women (13.5%) have never had a Pap test, compared to non-Hispanic Black (11.7%) and non-Hispanic White (5.9%) women.
Given the rates of cervical cancer among Hispanic women it is concerning that Hispanic women are less likely than non-Hispanic Black and White women to have a healthcare provider talk to them about a Pap test or HPV. Additionally, non-Hispanic Black women are the least likely to have a healthcare provider talk to them about cervical cancer. Furthermore, among women who have had a Pap test, Hispanic women receive their first Pap test at later ages, with 9.1% of Hispanic women getting their first Pap above the age of 30, compared to 7.2% and 6.2% for non-Hispanic Black and White women, respectively (see figure below).
The study also surveyed health providers on their positions regarding screening and cervical cancer. It found that 99% of providers say that, with some very few exceptions due to patient age or level of sexual activity, women should have both Pap and HPV tests. Further, 96% of providers say it is beneficial to get both done in the same visit and only 18% say HPV screening is sufficient alone to screen for cervical cancer. Thus, it is crucial for all adult women to get screened for cervical cancer with both Pap and HPV tests, and especially for this information to get to Hispanic and Black communities.